I’d read about the program Electric Sheep a few months ago and, as a long-time fan of Blade Runner, was really taken with the idea. It’s a distributed, collaborative artwork by Scott Draves where people all over the world run the program on their machine. Each “sheep” is an animation based on the fractal flame algorithm Scott developed in 1992. Electric Sheep incorporates a genetic algorithm where votes from users increase the chance of popular sheep living longer and breeding to create new ones.
The combination of discovering a Raspberry Pi distro of the sheep and that there was a Raspberry Jam coming up shortly in Glasgow resulted in “Sheep Dreams”. This is a slightly rapidly put-together project where the “dreams” of a toy sheep (that my parents had brought me back from holiday) can be observed and overheard.
The dream visuals are provided by Electric Sheep, and the dream sounds by a Sonic Pi program that mixes a recording of sheep baa-ing, snatches of dream/electric/sheep-related tunes and an echoing version of nearby sounds. The sheep’s “brain waves” are (allegedly) fed in to a Raspberry Pi through a GPIO pin.
The most technically awkward part of the project was getting Sonic Pi to take input from the USB microphone. (If you have the same issue, the solution that worked for me is here).
To develop the project, I’d like to extend the sheep’s interaction with the rest of the world. At the moment it’s purely decorative, but adding the ability for people to alter its dreams in some way by touching it, possibly using some sort of capacitative touch would be really interesting.